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In Florida, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a serious crime. DUI or DWI involves operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages, certain chemical substances or any controlled substance.
DUI can be proven by showing that your normal faculties are impaired, that your blood-alcohol level is above a .08 or that your breath alcohol level is .08 or above.
Starting a DUI Case
Usually a DUI case begins by a police officer observing a driving pattern which leads them to pull you over.
Some examples of driving patterns the police look for include:
- Crossing the lane lines
- Wide turns
- Swerving within a lane
- Driving too slow
- Driving without headlights
- Driving recklessly
If the police stop a car without sufficient cause, then this is illegal, and there may be grounds to suppress the stop. A suppressed stop may cause the State to drop the DUI case. Once the police pulls over a driver suspected of DUI/DWI, they will then look for any signs or indications of impairment such as:
- Odor of alcohol
- Slurred speech
- Bloodshot or watery eyes
- Swaying or staggering
- Fumbling with license
- Leaning on car
- Improper attitude (too happy, argumentative, combative, etc.)
- Inability to follow directions.
A combination of these indicators may lead an officer to request a field sobriety test.The field sobriety test is designed to make you split your attention between more than one task, so that the officer can observe your physical and mental abilities.
For example, the officer may ask you to close your eyes, tilt your head back, and recite the alphabet. The officer is not only concerned with whether you can say the alphabet but will also pay attention to your actions, such as whether you sway, lose balance, and so on.
Whether or not you choose to take the field sobriety test, the officer may arrest you if he or she believes he or she has probable cause to make the arrest. After arrest, you are taken to jail and a breathalyzer test will be performed.
The test operator will note whether you smell of alcohol, your physical appearance, ability to follow instructions, etc. They must inform you of your implied consent rights. If you drive in Florida, you have given your implied consent to take a blood or breath test if requested to do so.
If you refuse to participate in a blood or breath test, then your license will be suspended for up to one year for the first refusal, and 18 months for the second. A second refusal can also be charged as a separate crime by the State.
Additionally, the State will be allowed to argue to a jury in Court that the reason you refused is because you knew you would fail the test.
What Are the Penalties?
The penalties for a first DUI/DWI are a fine between $500.00 to $1,000.00, plus court costs. For a person whose blood or breath alcohol level is .15 or higher or accompanied in the vehicle by a person under the age of 18 years the fine is increased to $1,000.00 to $2,000.00, plus all mandatory fees and court costs. Additionally, the following penalties may also apply:
- Probation (not to exceed one year)
- A minimum of 50 hours of community service
- Revocation of driver’s license – six months up to one year
- 10-day vehicle impoundment
- DUI school
- Six months of jail time
If you have been charged with a DUI contact DUI Attorneys Jacksonville, FL immediately for help. DUI/DWI cases can be confusing. We are often able to help lessen the impact of driving under the influence (DUI) for many people. We recognize that each case is unique and that a “cookie cutter” approach is not in your best interest.
A good DUI Attorney can help determine whether police followed proper procedures when they asked you to take a DUI/DWI test.
Contact Our Team of Jacksonville DUI Attorneys
Our drunk driving attorneys in Florida can also argue the validity of your test results and determine whether any of your constitutional rights were violated during your DUI/DWI arrest. The may even be able to get your DUI/DWI charges dismissed against you.
Contact our team of DUI attorneys located in Jacksonville FL at 904-398-2212 today.